My husband asked me if I wanted to this, but I was rather hesitant as I wanted to concentrate on cycling. Well, after he entered I had to enter as I would not be very happy seeing him on the day of the event going off!
As the day got closer, I had not done much preparation, but Martin had to pull out due to his back injury. This meant I was doing it on my own – even though I did not want to do it in the first place!
Anyway the day arrived and I went on my own to register, then Martin and my 2 lovely enthusiastic children came down a little later. Once again, there were no t-shirts left for small people! If you were large or XL you were fine. I obviously moaned about this to the guy at registration as this has happened 3 years running! You think they would learn!
I popped my bike in to transition which was all very easy. Headed off to the pool with hubbie and kids. I was starting to get nervous (as always!) so tried to relax. It was my turn up and realised I had a lane to myself – BONUS!! I think this made me go flat out as I did not have anyone to slow me down. I knocked 5 seconds off last year @ 7:20.
The bike was uneventful – always a good route and nice to know where you are going. I was dying on the bike to start with which I think was because I had pushed the swim hard.
The run (as I knew would be tough!). I have done very little run training due to time etc. But I thought I would just push myself and try my best. It was great seeing supporters on the way round. Especially my 2 children shouting encouraging words etc (NOT!!) I finished the run in a decent time – so overall I was only 15 seconds behind last years time – so more than happy!
It was great to see lots of blue around and even better when blue passed you with words of encouragement! A great local event and always good to come back and try and beat your previous times!
2.5k SHAKESPEARE SWIM
This was the 2nd Shakespeare swim – I completed it last year with approx 30-40 other people. It was well organised and it was such a beautiful sunny day it was perfect! Therefore, with a considerable increase in numbers I was only hoping I would enjoy it just as much; This I certainly did! We arrived nice and early for registration. Got changed in the onsite caravan park toilet facilities. There was a lovely guy with a truck collecting all baggage to go the finish line. Then we headed off to the start and chatted to a few tri club members.
There was a short briefing and then ready to start. The groups were split up into slow, medium and fast – I was in the medium and found this just perfect. The scenery was beautiful, the sun was shining and we were heading downstream.Once again, it was perfect with a bacon bap or 2 at the end to finish off. Then the nice walk back to the car at the caravan park whilst chatting to friends! Perfect!
MYTON HOSPICE 100K CYCLE
I was a little unsure of entering this event. Anyone who knows me – I do not enjoy cycling! I feel completely inexperienced and get very nervous on the road and in groups! But how wrong could I feel. Apart from feeling very nervous at the beginning it all went very smooth!
I picked Lisa Rushton up very early in the morning – to find her just about to put in a new inner tube! I have changed 2 inner tubes in my life which took ages. Therefore, I suggested when we get there we could find either Russ, Ben or Phil who I am sure could do it quicker than me! So off we went.
We arrived in plenty of time and the parking was easy; but could we see any of them to help – No! So bless Lisa she did it on her own – a lot faster than I would ever have done it! We then went off to register and have our piccie taken then it was time to go! This was the point I got nervous! Garmin on, off we go in a group and then I just relaxed into it. Chatting away to the others, some of whom I had never met, it was starting to be lovely ride until a taxi decided to pull out in front of me whilst going downhill! I screamed like a girl and pulled my brakes on as hard as I could. Rather a scary moment! Before long we were at our first feed station where there was plenty of food, drink and friendly faces. I was not hungry at all but Louise Morey told us that the next food stop is about 58 miles so I ate 2 flapjacks – a further 43 miles was a very long way!
Off we went knowing the 2 hills were due. We soon arrived in Ilmington – the first famous hill! I have ran up this hill 9 times and down 6 times – so I knew exactly what to expect. My plan was to pace myself up in a very low gear and keep going! My plan worked and I thought it was easier than I expected – but I did know Saintbury Hill was worse. You could avoid Saintbury Hill if you wished. Phil Hall tried to until Lisa shouted at him!! So again, off we all went heading for the mountain!
We arrived and my plan was the same; I did not know what to expect – was it steeper but shorter, or just longer?? – how wrong was I! It was steep and long – just kept going and going! I started off with Jo Scott encouraging her to stay with me; my only worry was me stopping as I was going slow and falling off before unclipping! So I kept climbing – saw the photographer and thought that was it. No! On the basis this was timed and there was no beep I thought this is not the finish – keep going!!
At the top you saw lots of people which I must say was a wonderful sight! I stopped here and had my banana (they were also giving out bananas) and waited for the others whilst chatting to different people. Once we had all re-grouped off we went again; which was very satisfying at this point as Louise M told us there were no more hills – really!!?? It was very undulating and soon came to the 2nd feed station – which was about 45 miles. Here I ate 1 flapjack, filled up with water and off we all went.
When there was about 10 miles left I just wanted to get this over and done with so picked up the pace and Phil H came with me! We chatted through the countryside; there was some beautiful places we went through. We got to 60 miles and I knew we were near the end. I kept going at a strong pace and unfortunately lost Phil. The sight was near when I recognised the start – picked up the pace a little more – this had to be over with; I saw the finish line and thankfully it was all done – 4 hours 47 minutes 57 seconds!
A free burger was had after collecting your medal and we all just sat down and reminisced on the event! Overall, I actually enjoyed it – it might have been a completely different story if it was not beautiful weather! The company was fantastic, the organisation of the event was brill, the signage was spot on, and even now the hills were a good challenge! I would definitely do it again! Jayne Perry
UPTON OLYMPIC TRIATHLON
This was my first triathlon at Upton – I had watched my hubbie previously but this year it was my turn to join in! Myself, Martin, Sian & Owen arrived and parked up easily. My mother in law was there to look after the kids – The weather was lovely!
We registered and set up in transition, and went off to meet lots of others doing it all in blue! It was getting hotter as the day went on, so getting into a wetsuit was proving pretty tricky! We walked along the river bank to the start line and listened to the pre-event talk. Then headed down the steps into the water, which I must say was absolutely lovely! We were all trying to get in line with the start boat when all of a sudden it was time to go.
The swim was beautiful and could not have asked for a better swim – a little barging at the start but nothing that is not to be expected. I was soon half way and now looking out for the bridge and spectators in front of me. I soon saw the pontoon and headed over. Once arrived I belly flopped onto the pontoon and dragged myself – no room for elegance here!! 27 minutes swim – happy so far!
Off to transition whilst stripping off and straight onto the bike. This is my worst discipline so my plan was just to go for everything and hope for the best! It was a lovely cycle with only 1 or 2 hills, but I was pleased with my cycle with an average of 18.6mph – the fastest I have cycled!
Back into transition, change of shoes and off I go on the run. I knew this was going to be tough – with lack of run training and the terrain does not make me a fast runner! 2 laps round and I was glad I was getting closer to the finish. It was as I thought – the run was hard!
Overall, this was a great event and the weather made it perfect! I would definitely recommend this to anyone. Jayne Perry
Well, I really do not know where to start on this! I entered this event to push myself as 1) I had never cycled this far, 2) I wanted to experience a long distance cycle ride, and 3) I would like to learn to love cycling – something which I think I may have achieved!
With not much long distance training due to holidays, the day arrived and nerves were kicking in! Martin & I drove into Birmingham and park in the car park where hubbie works. We cycled just over 1 mile to the start line where it was packed and started to try and find our pen. We eventually found it down a side ride and headed as far to the front as possible. We saw a blue top – it was Richard Harper. We then found the other, Darren Mansell, Lisa Rushton, Jeff Mosforth & Stuart Mackay along with his deliveroo bag!! We waited to start, which was delayed about 20 mins. The barriers at the front started to move and then the countdown and off we went – all you could hear was beep after beep – everyone starting their gadgets!
It was 1 mile to the start line and headed up the Hagley Road, through Quinton, Halesowen, Lye, Stourbridge (all places I know extremely well!). Then after that I only knew pockets of the areas, which was great when you went through. We stopped at 20 miles along with thousands of others – but could not get in to the pit stop so we just pulled over and sent in Stuart. He came out with an arm full of goodies for us all!! We then stopped again around 32 miles – the queue for water and toilets were not worth waiting for – so again we stopped on the side, had a snack and then headed off. At 40 odd miles the pit stop was the same again – so on we went. Lisa & I know needed the loo, so we agreed to stop at mile 55 where there are toilets, food and water; but how wrong were we!! When we got there and queued about 10 mins to get in we were told there was no food and the queue for the water was snaked around the carpark – therefore, we just used the toilet facilities, had a snack of our own and decided to head on with only half a bottle of water each. The queue to get out was even worse!!
There was just the 3 of us now and just a couple of houses past the pit stop there was a house filling up water bottles from their hosepipe so we took the opportunity to fill up here. I was now starting to enjoy the cycle and loved cycling on closed roads. Soon we were in Droitwich, where there was lots of food and water – we ate more bananas and fig rolls. Here, we saw Martin’s mom and decided to stay an extra 5 minutes.
We were approximately 25 miles from the finish and we were now finding it hard going and knew the hardest was yet to come – Belbroughton, Clent and Romsley. The villages were lovely to cycle through – the support from spectators in Kinver and Belbroughton were great! Onwards and literally upwards we went – one climb after another! We then stopped at 84 miles just before St Kenelms pass hill climb! We scoffed on food to get us through the last section knowing it was going to be tough. Martin ended up with cramp whilst going up 2 seriously steep hills, so I waited at the most convenient point. This was getting harder. We were then soon going though Kitwell, Harborne and as I know this area well I knew we were nearly there! We both pushed really hard to the finish line as we both just wanted this to finish. Turning right on to Broad Street was the most amazing feeling ever – down Broad Street to the finish was indescribable – the feeling of completing 101 miles was euphoric! We headed down to the NIA where we were given our medal and then once inside we had our free Purity beer – not for me so saved it for hubbie.
The overall event was extremely well organised with marshals at all road junctions. The only thing they need to change next year is the pit stops – you could not get in and queuing to get out was horrific!
Yes I loved the long distance cycling – the weather made it perfect and the closed roads were the icing on the cake! I will definitely be back next year!! Jayne Perry